By Everdeen Mason
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. agreed to allow agriculture business Monsanto Co. to license use of its proprietary delivery technology, a deal Tekmira says is worth up to $86.2 million.
Tekmira shares shot up 33% in premarket trading following the deal's announcement.
Tekmira, which focuses on RNA interference therapeutics, will provide lipid formulations to Monsanto, which will be used for the latter company's research on new pest, virus and weed control options for agriculture.
The option agreement between the two companies will last four years, and Monsanto will pay Tekmira an option exercise fee for the exclusive right use Tekmira's technology in agriculture. Tekmira said it expects a near term payment of $16.5 million.
Monsanto, which is the largest seed company by sales, has benefited from a long-running farm boom in the U.S. and South America driven by high prices for corn and other commodities.
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